Christmas is Coming

I hope everyone after four practices has gotten into the Christmas Spirit for the semester. This song I’m about to write about is often used for all ages – because this can be used as a round; a type of song that children like to sing with each of them starting at different parts with the same melody; or the whole song sung through with the entire choir. The traditional version of Christmas is Coming is heard as the identical melody to the English dance tune Country Gardens but other melodies have been used in the song.

In the past, this song has been sung by the Kingston Trio for their album The Last Month of the Year and titled as A Round About Christmas. If any of you like old time folk music, then this would be a nice soothing song to get you ready for December. Other artists have sung this including Bing Crosby; who sung Christmas is a Comin’; rearranged by Frank Luther. You can also listen to the instrumental version on Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack arranged by Vince Guaraldi.

For the semester, this version is arranged by Andy Beck. He’s a graduate of Ithaca College with a Masters degree in Music education; and now is a music director, composer and arranger of popular Christmas music scores. For more information of him and his scores, visit his site at https://www.singers.com/arrangers/Andy-Beck/. This traditional English round has been re-embellished with new lyrics and make people come together while the season will be busy. The tune has been added with a new composed bridge and will make a wonderful opening for the concert.

In case you don’t know what the traditional nursery rhyme is like, here’s what it’s like in case you want to teach your young children and grandchildren:

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!

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What Is This Feeling?

This week I am going to be analyzing   What Is  This Feeling? from Wicked,

Wicked  first premiered  on Broadway in  2003   and starred  India  Menzel as Elphaba and  Kristin  Cheonweth as Galinda.  It is  currently  still on  Broadway.  I do not  know who is playing the lead characters  though.

When  I think of this song  I  am immediately bought back to college when  I  met my roommate for the first time freshmen year. This is situation  that Glinda and  Elphaba   find themselves in at the beginning of the show.     In this song they are writing letters to their parents explaining  what their roommate is like.     I got along well with my  roommate but   at the first meeting    it does not look  like Elphaba and Glinda are going to get along.    I am  Glinda in this song and   it fun to explore that  character a little bit better.  Developing this character will be fun as  rehearsals for my cabaret  progress.   It is clear that they do not  like each other and that Elphaba  is different  from the rest of them. That is why the  other Shiz  students side with Galinda.     One thing   that I really love about Wicked is the growth that the  relationship  between  Glinda and Elphaba   grows and how the “unadulterated loathing” eventually  goes away.

 

I am very excited about my cabaret that I  am doing at work.      I am  also hoping to achieve  the girl of this performance  of the song  Angels  on  My Shoulder that Dan Wolaver composed for me.  I think it would be  a nice tribute to  Dan to perform it.     What Is This Feeling was  performed in  our spring concert ins 2016  Comedy tonight performed by  Kim Whitehead and Rachel Cerullo.

 

 

This post was originally supposed to be posted on November 21st but had to be moved up  a couple weeks due  to lack of information  provided on both  Flowers    In Winter and  Goin To Bethlehem to  do an analysis.   Next week’s analysis will be on  Have Yourself A  Merry Little Christmas

 

 

Edelweiss

I get to  talk to one of my favorite  movie musicals of all  time in this post and I am so excited.   I  first  saw the Sound Of Music when  I was 10 years old at  my   grandparents house… it  was first introduction  to  musical  movies.   Did you know that  the Von Trapps were a  real family of musicians?    I have been to the  Von Trapp  family  lodge in Stowe Vermont and it is such a fun place to go..  I really want to go back!   The  movie is actually based on the  memoir  of Maria Von Trapp which was published in  1947 after her   husband Georg’s   death.    Maria Von Trapp was portrayed on screen by   the great  Dame  Julie Andrews and Captain Von Trapp was played  by Christopher Plummer.    The stage musical premiered on Broadway  in the Lunt Fontaine  Theatre  on  November 16th, 1959 and the movie  premiered in 1965.  Mary  Martin   played  Maria Von Trapp and Captain Von Trapp was portrayed by  Theodore  Bikel.

MY favorite  songs from the Sound  Of Music  include    I  Have Confidence, 16  Going On 17, My Favorite Things,  Something Good and Do  Re  Mi.   The song I am  going to talk about today is Edelweiss.

First of  all what is Edelweiss?     It is a  flower  that is a  popular   flower in  Sweden and Austria.  It means  noble white in German,  This   flower  grows  high in the Alps.

This song is beautiful and I always thought it had  wonderful harmonies in  it.  SVC performed it in their  Christmas  Around The World concert in 2012.     This song was written for the  Sound Of Music because it was a good representation of  guitar playing and folk  singing.   It is sung    in the festival  performance scene  in  the  movie and musical.   The actor who  played  Georg in the musical was a good  guitar player so this song was well suited for him.   Sadly this was the last song that  Rodgers and Hammerstein  wrote together before Hammerstein died of cancer.

 

How is this song related to  Christmas and the holiday  season?  I wondered the same thing recently.   If you listen to the lyrics   it says  “Blossom of Snow may you bloom and glow?”   As I mentioned  Edelweiss means  Noble White in  German which makes perfect sense for the holiday season.      While  The Sound  Of Music is technically  not a holiday film    Edelweiss  and My Favorite Things are my favorite Christmas songs from that movie.

 

Sources: Wikkipedia and  Broadway  Musicals   The 101 Greatest Shows of  All Time

 

 

Angels We Have Heard on High

Hello, I am pleased to be a part of the chorus family of Souhegan Valley, although I’ve decided to take a break for the fall in order to adjust my work schedule. The Christmas season hopefully will get our spirits up after what’s been happening lately. This season I am going to be helping out with posts on the songs for the semester along with Janine Leffler and Sonya Walcott. To start off, let me tell you about the Christmas Carol that you are used to singing when thinking about the Birth of Jesus.

In Luke 2:14, it celebrates with the Angels singing in heaven before the echoing off the mountains. The Shepards lay in the field keeping watch over the flock by night. The French loved to sing about this during the holiday season, and they did before the lyrics were translated and recreated by James Chadwick in 1862. The English lyrics aren’t exactly like the translation from the French version; but it still demonstrates joy and glory when singing.

The song opens with the invitation for Christians to come see the birth of baby Jesus, and then asks why the celebration; before the third stanza talks about the invitation. The best part is the “Gloria in Excelsis Dio“; latin for Glory to God in the Highest. This was arranged in the chorus part by Edward Snippen Barnes. Today Christians who attend church on Christmas eve or Christmas day sing this tune after the Gospel reading.

Two years ago the chorus did an alternative version called Sing with the Angels. After two verses, we sung the Gloria part. I thought this was one of my favorite songs for the semester. Once you get into the chorus part let your mind and souls be in good spirit, and don’t try to brush too much with your vocal chords. I hope reading about this gives you a good idea of where this song came from.

Christmas Around The World

For the next two weeks the songs I am featuring will be from the Christmas Around The World concert which was in 2012. This week’s song will be Coventry Carol and next week’s song will be Edelweiss from ONE of my favorite musicals The Sound Of Music. Originally I was supposed to analyze Carol From An Irish Cabin this week but I could not find any info about the song.

This concert was performed before I joined the chorus but I have listened to the recording. It is an English Carol from the 16th century. It is part of a mystery play that was performed in English Christmas pageants. While it is a beautiful piece of music the story behind it is very sad. It is about how King Herod ordered the deaths of thousands of children under the age of two to be killed in Bethlehem. It is meant to be a luallby that the mothers sing to their dying children. I can’t even begin to put myself in the place of the mothers in this song.. mostly because I do not have any children of my own yet but it definitely pulls at the heartstrings.
New England Brass also performed this song in our Christmas In The British Isles concert last year.

A recent version of this song was performed by Pentatonix.

Blue Christmas

For the first installment of my Songs of Christmas Past Series I am going to be talking about Blue Christmas which was part of last year’s concert Christmas In The British Isles.
The original version of this song was performed by Doye O’Dell in 1948. It’s popularity was cemented eight years later in 1957 on Elvis Presley’s Christmas Album. Since that time numerous music groups have done covers of this song including The Beach Boys, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride and Blake Shelton. In our performance Roger Hurd did an amazing solo.

Source for information: Wikipedia

40th Anniversary

Wow! This summer flew by quickly. Can’t believe that the Ice Cream Social is in a few weeks and looking forward to seeing everyone there.

This year is the 40th Anniversary Of SVC And In honor of the occasion I will be doing a special series Songs Of Christmas Past which will focus on songs from previous holiday concerts. Due to other engagements I will not be returning this semester to sing.

Here are the songs I’ll be analyzing

Blue Christmas Christmas In The British Isles

Carol From An Irish Cabin Christmas In The British Isles

Edelweiss Christmas Around The World

Flowers In Winter Sounds Of The Season

Goin To Bethlehem Sounds Of The Season

Hot Chocolate Christmas In Hollywood

Jingle Bell Hallelujah Ring Christmas Bells

That’s Christmas To Me Ring Christmas Bells